The Ottawa Senators (19-26-9) are in Pittsburgh today to take on the Penguins (31-22-4). After an unexpectedly slow start for the defending champions, they’ve heated up, taking 13 of a possible 16 points since January 23rd. In the chaos of the league’s most competitive division, they currently sit in second place.
The Senators have been building up wins as well, with only two losses through six games in February. And because they’re the Sens, they just had to be against Montreal and Toronto. They’ve scored 3+ goals in three consecutive games, something that hasn’t happened since mid-December.
Nate Thompson and Gabriel Dumont remain out of the Sens’ lineup, while Dumont is likely to be ready on Thursday against the Sabres. Max McCormick was called back up to fill the gap, as the team will return to playing twelve forwards and six defenceman. It appears Fredrik Claesson will be the odd man out.
Mike Condon gets the start after relieving Craig Anderson on Saturday. Matt Murray will be his opponent at the other end.
Below are the expected lines and pairings per Bruce Garrioch. The Boucher blender hasn’t been all that active in the past month, save for Chabot and Oduya rotating next to Karlsson.
Smith - Brassard - Stone
Dzingel - Pageau - Pyatt
Paajarvi - McCormick - DiDomenico
Oduya - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Borowiecki - Chabot
- Boucher held a tough practice yesterday, which included lots of 1-on-1 battle drills. After an inept performance against the division rivals, including a three goal deficit after the first period, maybe it’ll give the team some extra spring in their step. Maybe.
- Milestone watch: Erik Karlsson is close to reaching 500 career points, sitting at 492 (which is coincidentally tied with Bobby Ryan). It’s doubtful he’ll have an eight point night (one can dream), although it’ll be a great accomplishment once he gets there.
- In recent history, Ottawa vs Pittsburgh has typically been a high-scoring matchup in the regular season, averaging over seven goals per game since the start of 2016.
- Colin White continues to get big opportunities on the top line, and one has wonder at what point this turns into a situation of rushing a prospect. His two points and eleven shots in thirteen games don’t seem like first-line caliber, but either way, it’s good to see Boucher finally getting over his risk aversion with prospects.
- Game time is 7:00 p.m.
|Penalty Kill %||76.2||27th||83.3||4th|
|Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted)||46.32||29th||53.97||2nd|
|Fenwick (5v5, SVA)||46.94||27th||54.01||1st|
|Goals||Matt Duchene||27||Brad Marchand||34|
|Assists||Erik Karlsson (out)||53||Brad Marchand||51|
|Points||Karlsson/Stone (both out)||62||Brad Marchand||85|
|Shots||Mike Hoffman||253||David Pastrnak||236|
|TOI/GP||Erik Karlsson (out)||26:44||Zdeno Chara||22:53|